Best Books To Read For Digital Marketing

It is hard to keep up with the changes in the digital marketing field. New strategies, terms, and technology pop up every day. As an entrepreneur, you need to be on top of your game at all times. I can tell you from my own experience that there are so many books to read about digital marketing, it can get confusing. That’s why I decided to make a list of what I think are the best books to read for digital marketing.

Did you know that there are many people who are looking for free books to get started on their digital marketing career? After talking to my online friends, I decided to do a little research on the topic and was quite impressed with the results and thought of sharing with you.

When I was 10, our family bought a black and white TV. My dad had a book on Color Television Receivers, but he never read it. This book became my Bible — or Baa-ble. I loved that thing so much that when I went to college, my dad wanted me to bring it along. Instead, I sold it for $5 at a garage sale. My bad!

Best Books To Read For Digital Marketing

The 6 Best Marketing Books for Inbound Gurus

Jamie Friedlander
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6 Best Inbound Marketing Books
For those of you out there doing inbound marketing, some days it might feel like all you do is stare at a computer screen. Your world feels like an endless flurry of SEO, emails, Google Analytics, lead conversions, content creation and the Internet. But believe it or not, books (yes, those things you referred to back in the ’90s before Kindles and iPads existed) may be the key to refining your skills as an inbound marketer.

Here are my six picks for the best books for inbound marketers. (And don’t worry — you can read them on your eDevice. I won’t judge.)

1.“Inbound Marketing, Revised and Updated: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online”
Inbound Marketing, Revised and Updated: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers OnlineThis is one of the best marketing books out there, hands down — it’s an updated version of the older “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs,” and it’s written by inbound marketing experts and HubSpot founders Brian Halligan (CEO) and Dharmesh Shah (CTO).

At just a little over 200 pages, this book is the perfect Sunday read for inbound marketing pros and novices alike. The book covers the ins and outs of inbound, visibility (getting found), converting customers and more. Plus, you can learn about to how make decisions for your company (such as hiring the right people and what makes an agency top notch).

Time permitting, you should also check out the older version — it has useful tips for social media, blogging and SEO.

  1. “Inbound Marketing for Dummies”
    Inbound Marketing for DummiesBelieve it or not, there is a book about inbound marketing for dummies. This book covers all things inbound marketing — from attracting customers, to refining your SEO practices, to actually executing inbound marketing campaigns. The book also explains something many inbound marketers are unfamiliar with: situations when using pay-per-click actually pays off.

Scott Anderson Miller, the book’s author, is an entrepreneur who runs the firm Marketing Matters Inbound and has launched more 10 start-ups over the course of his career. He knows his stuff.

  1. “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content”
    Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good ContentAs we all know, stellar content is at the heart of all high-quality inbound marketing. If you’re not creating content that will delight potential customers, then you’ll have no leads to convert and your marketing efforts will have been wasted.

If you’re struggling to create worthwhile content or just want to refine your skills, pick up this book (it was a Wall Street Journal best-seller). Written by marketing veteran Ann Handley, this book provides tips and tricks for creating high-quality content that will attract potential customers and keep them on your website. Her tips don’t just apply to blog posts — they’re applicable for landing pages, emails, websites and marketing collateral, too.

(People are pretty pumped up about it this read — New York Times best-selling author Jay Baer called it “the first must-read book on the subject since Stephen King’s On Writing.”)

  1. “Inbound Marketing and SEO: Insights from the Moz Blog”
    Inbound Marketing and SEO: Insights from the Moz BlogAt madison/miles media, we love Moz. Especially the Moz blog — it’s ripe with useful information about all things inbound marketing, from Google Analytics and email marketing to SEO and creating content that goes viral.

When I saw an inbound marketing book from Moz, I knew it would make this list. Moz CEO and co-founder Rand Fishkin penned the book, which is a mix of articles and essays about the current state of inbound marketing. This book is especially helpful for newbies looking to conquer SEO — it provides information on some of the latest techniques.

Plan on reading about content marketing, conversion rate optimization, analytics, social media and industry influencer outreach — a critical inbound marketing step that many in the industry overlook.

  1. “UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.”
    UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.As all inbound marketers know, old, traditional marketing tactics are out (cold calling, fliers, ads) and new ones are in. (I mean, that’s why you’re reading this blog post, right?) An expert in social and viral marketing, author Scott Stratten tells is like it is in this read: Instead of using “the same tired methods,” he says, it’s time to actually engage with customers.

With an emphasis on social media, this book has 53 bite-sized chapters that cover the ins and outs of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, with a particularly humorous (and insightful) chapter on “The Seven Deadly Social Media Sins.”

For inbound marketers looking to improve their social media skills, this may be the best marketing book for you. Note: the book was written in 2010 so some of the content is outdated, but it’s still a good reference to have.

  1. “Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing” Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing
    As you can probably tell by its lengthy and comprehensive title, this book has it all. Not only does it provide an overview of inbound marketing, it also covers the nitty gritty of actually implementing it. You’ll learn how to scale your practices once you grow, determine which types of content are best for your organization, and understand how (and why) your customers change over time.

Oh, and needless to say, this one received glowing industry reviews. Ann Handley (the “Everybody Writes” author mentioned above) said: ” Content, search and social are like the Three Musketeers of Marketing. ‘Optimize’ shows you how — in very specific, measurable ways — you can put them to work for your business.”

With these six books on your desk (or in your virtual Kindle library) you’ve got inbound marketing in the bag. Now get to reading!

I know you’re already committed to that true crime book club with Shelley from accounting (side note: she doesn’t actually “love serial killers,” right?) but — if I may be so bold — I’ve actually got another book club that I’d love to set you up with.

…Well, I guess technically it’s less of a club, and more of a list of really fascinating reads, perfect for a social media manager who wants to level up their game. But still. I think it’s a perfect match.

No gritting your way through whatever Ted Bundy biography the Shellster picked this month. Just relevant, impactful, inspiring books that will actually make you better at your job every day. Plus, these books will spark even more passion and excitement for what you do.

Sound good? Then this is the low-pressure, low-murder book club for you. Read on to read on.

Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.

10 of the best social media marketing books

  1. The End of Marketing: Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of Social Media and AI by Carlos Gil
    RIP, traditional marketing. We’re living in a world where Youtubers get more impressions than Coca-Cola, and politicians rise to power through memes.

The End of Marketing skips over the classic stages of grief and heads right into acceptance. If you want to engage your audience, not just sell to them, this book (shortlisted for the 2020 Business Book Awards) is a good place to start.

This book covers:

How to bring a human touch to the brand-customer relationship
Breaking through the newsfeed algorithm
Building smarter paid-strategy plans

  1. See You On The Internet: Building Your Small Business With Digital Marketing by Avery Swartz
    Whether you’re a scrappy entrepreneur or the head of social at a big-shot global brand, there are great takeaways in this book from the CEO of Camp Tech.

The reality is, social media doesn’t exist in a bubble. See You On the Internet is an excellent reminder that your social strategy needs to be symbiotic with the rest of your online presence. Your website, newsletter and online advertising are part of the package.

Plus, I think we can all agree: having the waving-hand emoji on the cover? Adorable. And isn’t that what we all really want from a marketing book? Be honest.

This book covers:

Modern etiquette for social media
Tailoring content for readers and your friendly neighbourhood SEO bots
The power of tracking and segmenting your audience for maximum impact

  1. Brand Storytelling: Put Customers at the Heart of Your Brand Story by Miri Rodriguez
    Storytelling does something magic to the human brain. And if every post you make is an opportunity to tell a micro-story, you should take a cue from Microsoft’s own creative journalist (slash wizard?) Miri Rodriguez.

She’s compiled case study after case study from big names like Expedia, Google and McDonalds to spark your brand’s own magic act. Ta da!

This book covers:

How to harness storytelling to evoke emotion
Assessing, dismantling and rebuilding your brand story
Why AI and machine-learning can’t do it all

  1. Get Sh*t Done: The Ultimate Guide to Productivity, Procrastination, and Profitability by Jeffrey Gitomer
    As a social media manager, you’re wearing a lot of hats (hopefully not a fedora, but I digress).

You’re planning and executing campaigns. You’re engaging with fans. You’re convincing your sales people that, no, you can’t just get Ryan Reynolds to endorse your new line of vitamins. Along with all the other things a social media manager has on their to-do list, you’ve just gotta make the most of every day.

Consider this book the motivation you need to blast through your to-do list effectively and efficiently. (Ignore the cuss in the title, Mom!)

This book covers:

Optimizing your work habits
Building a comprehensive plan for maximizing productivity
How to eliminate distraction and prevent procrastination

  1. Social Media Marketing Workbook: How to Use Social Media for Business (2020 Updated Edition) by Jason McDonald
    Author and Stanford professor (well, Stanford Continuing Studies professor, but still) Jason McDonald puts out a fresh version of this social media workbook annually. His metaphor remains the same, year over year: if social media is a party, as a social media marketer, you’re the gracious host.

Here, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to creating the entertainment (aka content) that will keep the party bumping.

This book covers:

Conceptualizing the content you need
Creating a customized social media marketing plan
Developing an in-depth knowledge of each unique social platform

  1. Faster, Smarter, Louder: Master Attention in a Noisy Digital Market by Aaron Agius and Gián Clancey
    Okay, let’s circle back to this party metaphor for a hot second. If social media is, in fact, a soiree, it’s definitely one where all the guests are loudmouth extroverts.

Brands that specialize in quiet genius are likely to be stuck hanging by the proverbial chip bowl, unnoticed.

Get rowdy with the help of this strategic guide that teaches brands how to build visibility and demand. It’s basically an ’80s-movie makeover montage to teach you how to be the life of the party

This book covers:

Finding industry-proven strategy with plenty of research to back it up
Going beyond SEO and ad words to provide authentic value
Getting the attention your brand deserves

  1. Run with Foxes: Make Better Marketing Decisions by Paul Dervan
    Let’s face it: social media marketing is really more art than science.

For all the strategizing and planning and data mining we do, there’s really no one fool-proof method for engagement. If there was, there probably wouldn’t be 10 new books to read about how to do it every season.

Paul Dervan, previously the Global Brand Director at Indeed, is upfront about the uncertainty of it all. “This is not a book of answers,” he says right off the bat.

What he does promise is a book full of lessons that he and several dozen other marketers — sly foxes that they are — have learned over their careers.

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Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.

Get the template now!
This book covers:

The secrets to making better decisions
Lessons from failures big and small
First-hand advice from some of the world’s biggest marketers

  1. Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott
    It’s like the old proverb goes: If you post a photo to Instagram and you don’t have any fans to see it, did it even happen?

The Wall Street Journal best-seller from a father-daughter team (obviously marketing genius runs in the family) focuses on building engagement, loyalty, and even a love connection with your audience or customers.

This book covers:

How to harness the power of fandom through social psychology
Building personal relationships with your followers
The impact of a meaningful corporate culture

  1. Digital Trust: Social Media Strategies to Increase Trust and Engage Customers by Barry Connelly
    What do successful relationships and buying something off instagram have in common? It’s all about trust.

If your audience doesn’t trust your brand, you’re never going to be able to build engagement. You may not be able to go to therapy with your customers (why won’t Esther Perel return my calls?!) but you can build a social strategy around a strong, dedicated brand identity.

This book covers:

How to reinforce customer trust through social
Enabling transparency and consumer empowerment
Practical tools for building and leveraging trust

  1. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
    You may be a social media manager on paper, but ultimately, your job is to write. Surprise!

It’s why Everybody Writes continues to stay on our list of reading recommendations, year after year.

In our content-driven world, communication skills are essential in any outward facing role. “Our online words are currency,” Handley points out. “They tell our customers who we are.”

Great communication is a classic skill that’s always going to be valuable, spanning time, space, and whatever comes after Twitter.

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